For the Whole Family
Seeking Supplements: What People Are Taking and Why
It seems that everyone these days is supplementing their diet with supplements. From pills and powders to health drinks and smoothies, supplements are everywhere. The COVID-19 pandemic brought general health awareness to the forefront, causing people to increase their intake of health-boosting products. Here’s a look at some of today’s most popular supplements.
- With stress levels rising this past year, mental health-based supplements have seen a huge rise in popularity as well. Think melatonin, magnesium, chamomile, valerian, B-complex vitamins, and CBD products.
- The pandemic has caused a 50% surge in the usage of supplements that boost the immune system: vitamins C and D, zinc, ginger, elderberry, echinacea, turmeric, and astragalus.
- The VIP of vitamins nowadays is vitamin D. With its all-encompassing powers, it has been known to help fight disease and improve mental, bone and skin, and all-around health.
- Beauty and skincare supplements are highly sought after, with collagen, vitamin C, and omega-3s topping the list.
Although many supplements can help improve your health, they can also have hidden side effects, such as making other medications less effective, thinning the blood, damaging the liver, or even, in extreme cases, increasing cancer risks. Check with your doctor first, and try to get most of your nutrients from a healthy diet.
Are Organic Foods Really Worth the Extra Dough?
They look the same. They taste the same. So why are organic foods so much more expensive than their “regular” counterparts, and what’s in it for you – except a heftier price tag?
If something is organic, it means that it was produced without artificial pesticides or other chemicals, was not genetically modified, and is not stuffed full of hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. Because of these restrictions, organic food is more expensive to produce, and those costs carry over to you at the supermarket – with as much as a 50% price increase.
Many people are willing to fork over the extra bucks for what goes on their fork, primarily because non-organic foods can have trace amounts of pesticides, which, if consumed in excess, can potentially cause health complications. Organic food is also more eco-friendly and sustainable. And yet, the nutritional value and flavor are no different.
Bottom line: Organic foods won’t help your recipes, they may help your health, and they’re a definite plus for your mental health – if knowing your food was grown or raised “clean” gives you peace of mind.
Fitness at a Distance
Working Out Remotely
Like so many things since the beginning of the pandemic, fitness, too, is seeing an increasing “at-home” approach. While many people are back at the gym now, others still prefer to exercise in their own space. Here are a few of the top ways to do so.
Live or pre-recorded and available for repeated playback, streaming exercise classes is a great way to get a good workout. An instructor may be recorded alone or in front of an in-person group, letting you feel like a part of the class.
Popular streaming services include Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and YouTube. Many fitness clubs also stream directly from their own websites.
Apps such as My Fitness Pal, Sworkit, and Glo give you fitness tips and suggested workouts from the convenience of your smartphone.
Zoom With a Trainer
For a more individualized approach, many personal trainers do private Zoom sessions, during which you can not only get guided workouts, but immediate feedback and pointers.
Peleton and Echelon are also popular methods of “interactive training.”
Face Value: Making Facial Hair Work for You
A man’s facial hair is his crowning glory, his pride and joy. If you’re wondering if your best look is more macho mustachioed or sensitive and stubbled, read on. Here’s a guide to some popular facial hair styles.
Keep it short.
Short beard styles abound and are easier to tend to than a full beard. They’re also more versatile – mix and match with most hairstyles and face shapes.
Keep it really short.
Otherwise known as five o’clock shadow or “I forgot to shave,” stubble is good for those who can’t or don’t want to grow a much fuzzier face. It’s highly adaptable, slims down rounder faces, and makes you look suave and swarthy.
The big wigs of facial hair insist that mustaches are making a comeback. This lip décor gives contour and makes a strong statement. It can also make you look especially dashing when dressed to the nines.
Get your goat.
Can’t decide if you want to go beard, mustache, or clean-cut? The goatee is a happy fusion of all three.
The long story.
If you have that “long hair, don’t care” attitude, go for a full beard. It’s great for heart-shaped faces, keeps you warm in the winter, and shows audacity. Just remember that it could take as much as a year to grow out.
From Busy to Buff
Fitting Exercise Into Your Hectic Lifestyle
Too much to do? If you’re burning the candle at both ends, burn some calories while you’re at it. Here are a few ways to turn multitasking into motivation.
Put the “run” back in errands by jogging to the store to pick up a few things or walking across town to drop off your dry cleaning. You’ll get exercise while also crossing something off your to-do list.
Allowing time for family is important, so have them join you on a bike ride or hike. Bring the kids for an educational nature walk or cultural outing. You can log a lot of steps wandering around a museum for an hour!
Socializing with friends can be a morning jog with brunch afterwards. Post-workout mimosas are good incentive. Or just schedule a social call and chat on the phone while you walk.
Work it Out
Make working work for your exercise routine. Take the stairs up to your office instead of the elevator. Or, if working from home, do that conference call while pacing the living room or join a Zoom call while seated on a stability ball.
What to Drink When You’re Not Drinking
There are many reasons to abstain from alcohol on any given occasion. Sobriety comes in handy whether you’re behind on your to-do list or behind the wheel. But just because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean that you should miss out on any of the flavor – or the fun. Mocktails are alcohol-free cocktails that range from simple to sophisticated and can include a wide variety of ingredients. Here are a few worth sipping.
Virgin Cucumber Gimlet
Mix muddled cucumber, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup and shake with ice. Top with club soda, and serve over crushed ice.
Muddle blueberries and mint leaves with lime and simple syrup. Add additional lime juice and simple syrup to fill glass. Serve over ice with a splash of club soda.
Mix lemon, orange, and pineapple juices with a teaspoon of grenadine and shake. Strain over ice and top with ginger ale. Garnish with an orange or pineapple slice.
Combine fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice with fresh lime juice and agave nectar. Salt the rim of a glass and pour in the mixture over ice, topping with tonic.
Mix apple juice with lemon juice and simple syrup. Rim a martini glass with sugar and garnish with an apple slice.
Pour sparkling cider over peach nectar in a champagne flute.
Starter Pets: Animals Your Kids Really Can Take Care Of
Are your kids begging for a furry friend? Kids love something to love, but you don’t love being the only one caring for little Fluffy. Being stuck walking the dog or scooping the litter box when your kids lose interest in their pets is every parent’s pet peeve. Here are some lovable yet easy-to-care-for animals – a good test to see if your kids really are ready for a bigger (and fuzzier) commitment.
Fish are low-maintenance and affordable. Although they aren’t easy to snuggle with, they can be beautiful, fun to watch, and, over time, will begin to anticipate their caretaker’s arrival at feeding time, thus reciprocating a child’s attention.
Cute and good-tempered, hamsters have that sought-after fur and are much cuddlier than fish. They are easy to care for, with regular feeding being the primary duty, followed by routine cage cleanings. Hamsters are pettable and can learn basic tricks.
These fuzzy critters are known for their friendliness, personality, and easy care. Some say they even enjoy being petted and may purr like a cat.
Parakeets are attractive, easy, and social animals with minimal upkeep. They can learn tricks, and some even talk.
Don’t be grossed out. These unjustly snubbed rodents are actually intelligent and sociable, can be trained, and enjoy human attention.
Breaking Through the Teen Armor
How to Connect With Your Teenager
You and your loving child used to be close – regular besties who enjoyed spending time together. They looked up to you and thought you were the best mom ever. But then, your kid grew up and entered the tunnel of teenager-hood – and now, they barely speak to you. What to do?
Share a Meal
Even teens love to eat, so they’re likely to be willing to participate in mealtime. This is a good time for “device-free” dinners and quality conversation.
Follow Their Lead
Join your teen in doing something they enjoy, or talk to them about their interests and favorite activities. A car ride can be a good opportunity for a chat, so drive together to somewhere they want to go.
Plan a Regular Family Activity
They may not be as excited about this as they once were, but if it becomes part of their regular routine, they’re apt to join out of habit – and will ultimately enjoy themselves.
Do Something Fun Together
Teach them something new, work on a productive task, or do something active such as taking a walk.
Know How to Talk
During conversations, be encouraging, approachable, non-judgmental, and a good listener, and your teen will feel like they can open up to you.
For the Home
Gone to Pot
Cleaning Your Pots and Pans
Are you convinced that whoever invented so-called nonstick pans was really just kidding? Or do you just have a knack for scorching everything you cook until it latches onto your cookware? If you find yourself faced with a pot-astrophe involving caked-on food and burn marks on your pots and pans, here are some tips to get them clean.
- The sooner you clean your pan after you use it, the better.
- Wash it by hand to scrub hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.
- Soak cookware in water to loosen stuck-on residue, but don’t put a hot pan in cold
water. It could warp.
- Use a scouring pad or sponge and scrub in a circular motion.
- Start by using dishwashing liquid, then, if needed, move up to abrasive cleaning products, such as Ajax or Comet, or basic baking soda. A paste of water with these products works wonders.
- Stay away from oven cleaner, which can take the finish off your cookware and ruin it for good.
- For extra-difficult spots: In your dirty cookware, boil a mixture of baking soda and approximately 1/4 cup water. Once the water boils off, scrub the pan.
- For the toughest spots: Submerge your entire pan into a boiling vat of baking soda/water solution.
Get Out of This Mess!
Ways to Stay Organized
You don’t have to be a minimalist to enjoy keeping out the clutter. Even if you love stuff, you can still have too much of a good thing if your things are taking over your world. Turn chaos into coordination with these organization tips.
Towel bars come in handy for far more than just towels. Put one in a tool shed, kitchen, or bedroom for hanging everything from cooking utensils to clothing.
Spice racks can store small items such as nail polish. Shower hooks are the perfect way to hang up scarves, purses, or necklaces. And muffin tins make great
organizers for small things that live in your junk drawer.
Glue magnets to the backs of items such as makeup or toiletries and store them vertically by sticking them to magnetic surfaces or strips (think magnetic knife holder). Don’t have a usable metal surface? Make one by covering it with magnetic paint.
Get drawer organizers and arrange things by category. Tiered shelves placed along other shelves or under the sink provide additional storage space. Don’t let those secret spots (under the bed, between the fridge and wall, etc.) go unused. And insides of closet doors or sides of cabinets make great places for adding hanging or mounted storage.